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Ash Wednesday (Father Dowling #29)

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Father Dowling has been serving as parish priest and resident sleuth at St. Hilary’s for a while now, but he’s no lifer, and there’s plenty that he doesn’t know about the old guard. So when a stranger comes to Fox River who isn’t a stranger to anyone but him, he has to rely on his prying housekeeper to tell him that the mystery man is actually a well-known murderer. Ten ye ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Minotaur Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 19, 2009 Connie rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is my introduction to the Father Dowling mysteries. Though it was a challenge to keep track of the many key players in the story, I enjoyed it enough to plan to read others.
Oct 12, 2013 Katie rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-adult
I found this book difficult to follow and therefore hard to read and not terribly gripping or enjoyable. This is a book I was excited to find in the library and really had high hopes for, but it was disjointed, and I often found that thoughts and conversations among the characters were not well developed. For example, there is a conversation that occurs about 3/4 of the way through in which I had no idea to whom the lawyer character was speaking! I also found the use of last names for characters ...more
Sep 05, 2009 Donna rated it it was ok

Nathaniel Green returns to St Hillary parish after serving a decade in prison for murdering his wife who was dying from terminal cancer. The police weren't convinced he had disconnected his wife's life support and the prosecutor wasn't really vested in trying the case. He might have gone free of he hadn't been so loudly insistent that he had murdered his wife/ He still might have been saved from prison if he hadn't selected the most incompetent attorney in the area.
Nathaniel's wife's sister i
Charmain Sheely
Mar 12, 2015 Charmain Sheely rated it liked it
This is my first Father Dowling book. I love the TV series and couldn't help comparing the book to the episodes I've watched. I was disappointed that Father Dowling was more like a secondary character in this book and not nearly as curious as he was in the show.
The story revolved around a well-to-do family and the tragedies that followed them. The book was slow paced and it wasn't until well into the story when things began to pick up.
I enjoyed getting to thoroughly learn about each of the chara
Michael O'Leary
Nov 02, 2014 Michael O'Leary rated it really liked it
Ash Wednesday is #29 in the Father Dowling Mystery series by Ralph McInerny. It is a cerebral mystery, with Fr. Dowling being a perfect father confessor, dealing with moral dilemmas and the weakness of man with compassion and understanding. The book is most entertaining and the author keeps the story moving with several twists and turns, producing another parish mystery for the priest to solve in his usual quiet and compassionate way. Truly a pleasant mystery read.
Jan 22, 2009 Stacy rated it did not like it
Boooring and completely disjointed. Concept wasn't bad, but the way it all played out just didn't work for me. I actually stopped reading towards the end (something I never do!) and skipped to the end to find out what happened. And I was really glad I didn't waste the time reading.
Apr 02, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys well written cozies that dwell on moral and religious paradoxes
I really enjoy all of McInerny's characters and I'm glad I still have one novel and two short story collections to read in the Father Dowling series. As with all his books, Ash Wednesday presented interesting moral and ethical questions in the context of Catholic dogma. RIP, good friend!
Feb 12, 2011 Karen rated it liked it
A fun read for the detective lover in me. It did also touch upon Catholic respect-for-life issues, specifically end-of-life care and suicide.
Nov 02, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it
I love this story and Fr. Dowling too! Can't go wrong w/this writer!
Apr 15, 2010 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Father Dowling is really faced with moral ambiguity in this one, and everyone needs to search his/her own heart.
Jul 14, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it
possible my least favorite of the series. Great concept and characters, but very predictable outcome.
Dec 13, 2014 sarg rated it liked it
Ralph McInerny's Father Dowling mysteries. I enjoyed the TV adaptation of these stories but the books are not as good. 
Michael crage
Jun 12, 2015 Michael crage rated it really liked it
It was an interesting plot, but was not written to make me not put it down. I even put it down to go to sleep with about 10 pages left
Katherine Aufman
Katherine Aufman rated it it was ok
Mar 22, 2010
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Nov 22, 2011
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Jan 05, 2014
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Apr 25, 2017
Robert Carito
Robert Carito rated it it was ok
Apr 07, 2013
Jul 14, 2011 Charles rated it it was amazing
I like his writing style, although he loves his theasarius.
Larry Snyder
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May 21, 2013
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Aug 11, 2015
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Mar 31, 2016
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Karen Riley rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2016
Michael rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2013
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Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2011
Sue rated it it was ok
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Ralph Matthew McInerny was an American Catholic religious scholar and fiction writer, including mysteries and science fiction. Some of his fiction has appeared under the pseudonyms of Harry Austin, Matthew FitzRalph, Ernan Mackey, Edward Mackin, and Monica Quill. As a mystery writer he is best known as the creator of Father Dowling. He was Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Jacques Maritain ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Father Dowling (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • Her Death of Cold (Father Dowling, #1)
  • Bishop as Pawn (Father Dowling, #2)
  • The Seventh Station (Father Dowling, #3)
  • Lying Three (Father Dowling, #4)
  • Second Vespers (Father Dowling, #5)
  • Thicker Than Water (Father Dowling, #6)
  • A Loss of Patients (Father Dowling, #7)
  • The Grass Widow (Father Dowling, #8)
  • Getting a Way with Murder (Father Dowling, #9)
  • Rest in Pieces (Father Dowling, #10)

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